April 26, 2013
Lamar's Game Notes
BEAUMONT, Texas - The Lamar Lady Cardinals play their biggest Southland Conference softball series of the season as they travel to Central Arkansas for three games.
The teams square off in a doubleheader at 11 a.m. Saturday and a single game at 1 p.m. Sunday. All three games will air live on www.LamarCardinals.com.
Lamar (21-30 overall, 11-10 Southland) is tied for fifth place with Southeastern Louisiana and one game behind Central Arkansas (32-16, 11-8) heading into the weekend. The standings got tighter Thursday when Southeastern Louisiana and Central Arkansas were each awarded a forfeit victory over Houston Baptist after the conference ruled the Huskies used an ineligible player in their wins over Southeastern Louisiana and Central Arkansas.
The top six teams qualify for the Southland Conference Tournament. Lamar leads seventh-place Nicholls by 1 ½ games with six games remaining.
"We can't catch a break," Lamar coach Holly Bruder lamented. "It's never easy, but we know what we have to do. We just have to win."
Bruder hopes the Lady Cardinals, who have lost four straight, can end their slide this weekend.
"You have to be playing your best softball this time of the season," Bruder said. "We've got to step up our game."
Lamar, which is hitting .261 as a team, needs to find a way to solve Central Arkansas pitcher Kelsie Armstrong (24-11, 1.69) Armstrong has appeared in 39 games, making 35 starts, allowing 170 hits in 232 innings with 300 strikeouts. Armstrong has thrown complete games in each of Central Arkansas' last 13 contests.
"There's no doubt Armstrong is a good pitcher," Bruder said. "We know we're going to face her. I don't know if she's going to be tired, but we have to get our bats going this weekend."
Candyce Carter continues to lead Lamar in hitting, entering the weekend with a .362 batting average. Carter leads Lamar with 27 RBIs and is tied with Ashley McDowell for the team lead in home runs with nine. Carter leads the Southland Conference with 97 total bases.
Central Arkansas is hitting .306 as a team entering the series. Sam Forrest leads the Bears with a .399 batting average and 33 RBIs.
"We're going to need good pitching, good hitting and great defense," Bruder said. "We have to play well in all three phases."
The Lady Cardinals have been working out on the artificial turf fields at Ford Park to prepare for their first conference games of the season on turf.
"We have to get used to it," Bruder said. "It's a different game on turf, but we have to be ready."
Following the series at Central Arkansas, Lamar returns home to host Houston Baptist next weekend in a three-game conference series to wrap up the regular season.
"Every game is important now," Bruder said. "We've put the pedal to the metal this week in practice. The players know they have to be ready."